Fastball Shy

By Mike Schneider

Featured Art: Gray Spots by Vasily Kandinsky

Hot roller to the shortstop,
me—lean machine
of summer, scuffling
in ballfield yellow dirt.
Off like a hound I go
with my three-finger
Warren Spahn, neatsfoot-
oiled cowhide glove
to gobble that scorched
grounder & fire it
across the diamond
to Tub McMullin’s
fat-handed mitt at First.
Little League? Shit.
This is ultimate Big Time.
Who knew that stitched
leather ball could baffle
hand & eye? Wild
chance, wicked hop,
they said, nasty chop
direct to the cartilaged
bulge of my Adam’s Apple
dropped me flat, washed
me in starlight. Nerve
& muscle inscribed
with solid-state physics,
I learned to flinch & never
could unlearn that secret.
One rainy afternoon
on Heckman’s front porch
we unraveled it, yards
& yards of yarn down
to the inscrutable rubber
pill, unforgiving hard
center of the world.


Mike Schneider has published poems in many literary journals, including Hunger Mountain, Notre Dame Review and Poetry. Three times nominated for the Pushcart Prize, he received the 2012 Editors Award in Poetry from The Florida Review, and won the 2016 Robert Phillips Prize (selected by Richard Foerster) from Texas Review Press, which in 2017 published his chapbook, How Many Faces Do You Have?

Originally published in NOR 15

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